The main reason I decided to start a business of my own was that I wanted the ability to travel as I pleased. Travel is the ultimate drive for me because it keeps everything exciting, I love experiencing new cultures, and I’ve always felt out of place when I’ve been in one particular area long enough.
After years of hard work doing tech-related tasks for small businesses, I decided I had enough experience (and drive) to go on my own as a freelancer. The transition to working for myself was quite a rocky ride in the beginning but after things settled out I was able to fulfill my dream of mixing business with travel.
I’d like to share some of the key decisions and bits of knowledge that have allowed me to stay mobile:
A. Develop a strong presence
In order to successfully operate on your own you really need to trim the fat and focus on your best abilities while simultaneously promoting them as if they were your job (because they are).
You need to do these every day:
· Take time to interact and network with players in your industry
· Cold call/email and follow-up on leads to diversify your clientele
· Create content and promote it like crazy on social networks
· Continuously learn something new about your area of expertise
· Work on developing new verticals or complimentary products/services
Work heavily on building a strong presence and personal brand so that no matter where you go the clients will follow or you’ll able to find a host of new ones once you arrive at your destination.
B. Find a place that matches your lifestyle
Since you’re able to travel as you please, you’ll be tempted to find a place in the obvious areas like New York City, San Francisco, or one of the major cities overseas. However, the cost of living in these major cities are out of this world and it’s good to ground yourself in reality.
I highly recommend you assess your lifestyle and match it up with the cities that are best suited for freelancers and online business types. Find the spot that allows you to have the fun and freedom you want but also not bury you in debt because of astronomical cost of living differences.
Once you’ve settled on a place to go, I’d then recommend cutting down on the amount of items you own so you can pick up and go as frequently as you’d like versus always lugging around an apartment or house. When you do need to move I also recommend letting cross country movers do the heavy lifting because they have the proper equipment, labor, and insurance to get your stuff around without the hassle you normally experience when trying to do it on your own (or trying to get friends involved).
C. Utilize the right tools for the job
Try to move as much as you can into Web services and cloud-based solutions.
These may include:
· Time tracking
· Media editing & creation
· Word processing (and others part of the suites)
· Storage and backup
You’ll want to tread lightly so you don’t have to be locked down to a home office when you’re moving about. Part of travel is that you’re out there experiencing the World so if you’re just hopping city to city with the same setup you’re really limiting yourself which is why you’d want to digitize as much as you can in your business.
There are always places to work:
· Coffee shops
· Mobile hotspots
· Shared workspaces
· In the car
Plenty of devices will allow you to be online no matter where you are so embrace the technology so you can always be on the go. Of course this is mostly dealing with information-type or service-type businesses but even if you sell physical products you can go digital and hand off the heavy lifting in ways such as drop shipping, white labeling, warehouse management, or hiring people to work from a centralized location where all you’ll need to do is a daily check-in.
It’s an absolute delight to be able to work from anywhere in the World. It doesn’t mean I’m always out there on the road and that every day is just relaxing on the beach. You still need to put in the time and grind when there are big projects. If you make travel an essential part of your life and adjust your lifestyle to go after this dream then your work will follow and you too will be able to live off the laptop, see the World, and run a business of your own.